History Studio


How do you tell a “true" story? Award-winning historian (and History Studio partner) Jim Downs delves into this question with master storytellers across film, TV, publishing, theatre, and gaming. Together, they explore the process of crafting authentic narratives, particularly those that typically have not been told by the entertainment industry.

Episode 4: Piper Kerman

Host Jim Downs talks with author and activist Piper Kerman about her experience of incarceration, capturing the humanity and resilience of her "bunkies" on the page and on screen, and those chickens in the Netflix hit Orange Is The New Black.

Episode 3: 12 Mighty Orphans with Ty Roberts and Lane Garrison

Writer / director Ty Roberts and writer / actor Lane Garrison talk with Jim Downs about their feature film 12 Mighty Orphans, playing now in theaters nationwide. They discuss the resonance of the Depression-era story in our current moment, the challenges of making period films, and the stories from Texas history that need to be told on the big screen.

Episode 2: A'Lelia Bundles

Host Jim Downs talks with author A’Lelia Bundles about her great-great-grandmother Madam C.J. Walker’s activism and deep community ties, avoiding tropes and stereotypes in translating Black stories to the screen, and the many, many African-American historical figures who need their own biopics and mini-series.

Episode 1: Dustin Lance Black

Host Jim Downs talks with Academy Award-winning filmmaker and activist Dustin Lance Black. They discuss stories as "chaos bombs," the perils of nostalgia, learning from an older generation of gay activists, and being born to write....or barbecue?

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